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Article: Relative density

Relative density

Definition and Measurement of Relative Density

  • Relative density is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference material.
  • It is a dimensionless quantity.
  • Specific gravity is another term used interchangeably with relative density.
  • Relative density for liquids is typically measured with respect to water at its densest.
  • For gases, the reference is air at room temperature.
  • Relative density is calculated by dividing the density of the substance by the density of the reference material.
  • The reference material is often assumed to be water at 4°C.
  • In SI units, the density of water is approximately 1000 kg/m³ or 1 g/cm³.
  • The relative density of gases is often measured with respect to dry air at 20°C and 101.325 kPa.
  • The molar mass of the gas can be used to calculate relative density with respect to air.

Relationship to Buoyancy

  • If a substance's relative density is less than 1, it is less dense than the reference material and will float in it.
  • If the relative density is greater than 1, the substance is denser than the reference material and will sink.
  • An ice cube, with a relative density of about 0.91, will float in water.
  • The relative density of a substance determines its buoyancy in a given medium.
  • Temperature and pressure must be specified for both the sample and the reference when considering buoyancy.

Applications in Industry

  • Specific gravity is commonly used in industry to determine the concentration of solutions.
  • It provides information about the concentration of materials such as brines, syrups, juices, acids, etc.
  • Specific gravity is particularly convenient for calculations when the density of water is divided by 1000 or 1, depending on the units.
  • It is used in various industries, including brewing, to measure the concentration of substances.
  • Specific gravity is a simple and widely used method for obtaining information about solution concentrations.

Measurement Methods

  • Relative density can be calculated by dividing the density of a sample by the density of the reference substance.
  • Mass is divided by volume to calculate density.
  • Irregularly shaped samples can be measured by displacement in a water-filled container.
  • Surface tension of water may affect the accuracy of measurements.
  • Hydrostatic weighing can be used to measure relative density by weighing the sample in air and water.
  • Pycnometer is a device used to determine the density of a liquid.
  • Hydrometer is a device used to measure the relative density of a liquid.

Other Concepts and Techniques

  • True specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a sample to the density of water.
  • Apparent specific gravity is the ratio of the weights of equal volumes of sample and water in air.
  • Different industries use specific tables for relative density measurements.
  • The pycnometer can also be used to determine the particle density of a powder.
  • Digital density meters use various techniques such as hydrostatic pressure, vibrating element transducers, ultrasonic transducers, radiation-based gauges, and buoyant force transducers to measure density.
  • Relative density is also used in soil mechanics to measure the current void ratio in relation to the maximum and minimum void ratios.

Relative density Data Sources

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